Arsenal Ladies clinch FA Cup final place after Chelsea victory

Kelly Smith helped the Gunners through to the final: Action Images

Kelly Smith helped the Gunners through to the final: Action Images

First published in Sport

Arsenal Ladies will face Everton in the FA Women’s Cup Final after beating Chelsea 5-3 in extra-time of the semi-final on Sunday.

Kelly Smith’s brace dragged Shelley Kerr’s side into extra-time against the Blues, before three further goals secured the win and a shot at a 13th FA Cup for the Gunners.

Smith said: “The FA Women’s Cup is such a special trophy and a great occasion to be part of and as a team, we’re so happy to have made the final again.

“We’ll go into it full of confidence after overcoming a very good Chelsea side and it was great to play a part with a couple of goals. Everton have had some good results in this year’s cup, and it’ll be a tough game for us, but we’re determined to go out there and lift that trophy once again.”

Chelsea had the ball in the net after three minutes, but Yuki Ogimi saw her goal disallowed for offside.

Freya Ayisi saw a good opportunity blocked by Gilly Flaherty soon after and Chelsea’s Eniola Aluko just failed to divert a cross home as the two sides traded chances.

Arsenal’s Danielle Carter had the first real chance of note, dragging a shot just wide.

Smith tried her luck moments later, Laura Bassett saving from the Watford-born forward.

Before the break, Arsenal saw a golden opportunity go to waste when Smith missed a penalty.

Ayisi was hauled down by Marie Hourihan but Bassett did well to stop Smith's spot kick.

In the Arsenal goal, Siobhan Chamberlain, prevented Chelsea’s Aluko after the restart, blocking her one-on-one effort.

With just over 20 minutes remaining, Chelsea took the lead when Aluko picked out Ji So-Yun in the penalty area to finish. The lead lasted a minute as Smith nodded home a Carter cross which left Bassett with no chance.

Smith then thumped the bar from 30 yards before Chelsea re-took the lead five minutes from the end.

Chamberlain could only parry another Aluko chance away, allowing Ogimi to finish with the follow-up.

Again though, the Blues’ advantage lasted less than a minute as Smith levelled. Picking the ball up 35 yards from goal, Smith she curled a shot beyond Hourihan to take the tie to extra-time.

It took just three minutes of extra-time for Arsenal to go in front for the first time, Carter deflecting a Smith shot home.

Shinobu Ohno should have doubled that lead seconds later, but shot wide.

The Japanese international got on the scoresheet in the 99th minute, turning home a Carter cross.

Five minutes later Aluko caused a panic when she curled home from 18 yards to make it 4-3.

The Gunners finally put the tie to bed in the 109th minute when Casey Stoney headed in a corner.

Everton will face the Gunners in the final at MK Dons’ Stadium:MK ground on June 1. The game kicks off at 4.30pm and will be broadcast on BBC Two.

Arsenal Ladies will play a Women’s Super League triple header in a week at Boreham Wood in May.

Kerr’s side welcome Women’s Super League newcomers Manchester City on Sunday at 2pm.

The Gunners will then play Birmingham City on Wednesday at 7.45pm, before taking on Bristol Academy on Sunday, May 25, with kick-off at 2pm.

Tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.

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